Long Layover? How To Sleep At An Airport Like A Pro
6 Must Know Tips On How To Sleep In An Airport Like A Pro
If you’ve ever travelled by plane, you know sooner or later you’ll be caught in a layover between flights. No biggie if your layover is short-just read a book or grab a bite to eat and wait it out. If however your layover leaves you stranded in an airport overnight, that’s a different story. Here are some things you can do to make sure you sleep better, stay comfortable and safe. You’ll be glad you know this information.
1- Check in advance to see if you are allowed to sleep at an airport
Is it open? You won’t be able to sleep in an airport if it is not open 24 hours. Some places frown upon sleeping in airports like in Japan. If you know in advance you’ll have a long layover, research whether you can or can’t sleep in the airport overnight. If you can’t, try to make arrangements for somewhere to sleep or at least research it.
Is it disgusting? Not all airport sleeping areas are created the same and even though sleeping in the airport is possible, you may not actually want to. According to news.com.au, London Heathrow airport is considered by many travellers to be one of the worst airports to sleep in overnight.
Heathrow has been labelled as too cold with very little comfortable seating to sleep on. Some travellers even complained that the carpets were dirty and flea infested. Others claimed they couldn’t sleep because it was too noisy or that the cleaning crew came around and asked them to move so they could clean.
Know before you go by using sites like http://www.sleepinginairports.net/ which provides user-generated reviews about almost every airport you can think of. You’ll find all the information you need about a particular airport such as whether or not there is free wi-fi, or if an airport is clean, allows sleeping and so much more.
2-Pack A Survival Kit In Your Carry-On Luggage
In addition to wearing or packing comfortable, loose-fitting clothes, you should consider packing a survival kit that will get you through a night or two in the airport. At minimum you should pack the following items plus anything else you think you might need.
- Pack a change of clothing: My husband and I were stuck in an airport in Colorado when the airport was snowed in. Having a change of clothes was the pick-me-up we needed to feel a littler fresher. When my daughter spilled hot chocolate all over her dress in Switzerland, I broke out her spare clothes. Mommy to the rescue!
- Pack a toiletry bag full of basic toiletries: toothpaste, toothbrush, contact solution, sanitary products, lotion, 3 oz./100ml bottle of shampoo or soap, deodorant, gel, hair brush, hair scrunchy. I sometimes pack vaseline because it’s so useful.
- A subset of makeup: Use a clear see through makeup bag and put just the basics. A little BB cream, mascara, lip colour and face powder. The clear makeup bag makes it easy to see what you’ve got at a glance. You can pull it out easily and take it to the restroom rather than rooting around the bottom of your bag to find that lip gloss.
- Something to cover your eyes: Bring an eye mask or simply lay a shirt on your head to block out the airport lights. I’ve seen some people wear a beenie pulled down over their eyes.
- Earplugs: You’ll be glad you have some earplugs even if the airport is not super loud. Blocking out the sound really does help you sleep. Try the earplugs with strings attached. You’ll never lose them if they fall out.
- A small travel pillow or roll up a sweatshirt for you head. Seen some people actually bring their bed pillows from home. I like to pack compact micro-beed filled pillow because it stuffs easily in my bag and when you lay on it, it forms perfectly around my head.
- A small travel blanket, sweatshirt, or a fashionable oversized scarf like a pashmina to cover yourself: It gets cold in airports. Oversized scarves look great too.
- Wet wipes and or tissue paper: Wet wipes or travel wipes really come in handy for quick washing’s in the airport sink. I like to bring wet wipes which have moisturizer in it already just for my face.
- Snacks: Bring something that won’t get crushed and can curb your hunger. Nuts, chocolate, granola bars? Snacks are expensive in the airport.
- Entertainment: A book, iPhone for music, Kindle eReader
- Spare battery for your electronics: If you can’t get a spot by a wall plug, having an external battery on hand to keep you electronics charged is a life saver. Make sure you choose an external batter pack that has enough juice to keep your phone or tablet charged up to 24 hours. The one I use is rated 10,400 mAH. The standard input voltage of smart devices is 5 volts so don’t buy an external battery that is less than this. I highly recommend the Ravpower external battery which I use almost everyday even when I am not travelling. It can charge 2 devices at the same time which means you won’t be fighting over who gets to charge their electronics.
- Pack the kids stuff: If travelling with kids, pack their essentials too including clothes to sleep in, toys and some form of entertainment like crayons or books.
3- How to find the best spot to sleep at the airport
Sleeping in an airport is a bit of a science and not all airports are created equal when it comes to sleeping in them. Some airports have sleeping facilities, lounges and even rooms where travellers can sleep. You should ask someone at the airport if this exists. If not, you will need to find the best spot to sleep in.
Take a walk around the airport and look for a good place to sleep. Here are some things you should consider when choosing a spot to sleep.
- Safety: If possible try to sleep where other people are sleeping. Safety in numbers
- Stay away from high traffic areas: Toilets, check in desks, next to stores or food vendors are all high traffic and noisy areas to sleep in which could make it difficult to sleep. However if you pack some earplugs and eye mask this might be less of an issue.
- Look for a set of chairs with no arm rests: It will be easier to stretch out on and more comfortable and cleaner than the floor.
- Look for clean carpeted areas: If there are no chairs, consider sleeping on the floor. I like to sleep close to a wall or window on one side of me with my luggage between me and the wall.
- Look for outlets: If you have to charge your phone or laptop, you may want to stay near an outlet.
4-Protect your passport, purse, property and luggage
Here are a few tips to keep your luggage or valuables from being stolen while you sleep
- Keep you passports, credit cards and cash near you or on you. Otherwise put your valuables in an INSIDE pocket of your bag NOT the outside pocket where it can easily be snatched.
- Put larger expensive things like cameras, laptops and purses inside your luggage with a carry-on luggage lock.
- Try to put your luggage between you and a wall like a sandwich.
- Lay your head on your bag or take a strap and anchor your luggage to a chair near you or to you which will make it impossible for anyone to run off with your luggage. You can use locks especially made for this which are light or bring a bicycle lock with you.
5- Don’t miss your connecting flight
Confirm your flight details so you know when you need to wake up to catch your connecting flight and which gate you need to go to.
Take precautions so you wake up on time by any means necessary. I have seen people put stick-it notes on their head that say “wake me up at 8:30 in the morning so I don’t miss my flight”. You could just bring a travel clock or set the alarm on your phone too.
6- Prepare for bed
Just like you would at home, it helps to clean up before bed even if it is on some yucky airport floor. Change into something comfortable if you have to. Brush your teeth, wash your face and take off your shoes. I like to have a pair of socks on hand or small slippers. Then set your alarm, listen to some music or read a book if you have to, then try to relax and get some sleep.
Sleeping in airports can be fun or it can be total hell. My kids love sleeping in airports but it’s a different story the next morning when I try to wake them up after a night of sleepless excitement.
Use your best judgment on deciding whether or not to sleep in an airport for long layovers and be sure to check out www.sleepinginairports.net.